20 Fun and Easy Activities for 3 Year Olds at Home

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Written By Olivia Miller

Author at Montessori Expert.

Activities For 3 Year Olds: At 3 years old, your child is a whirlwind of energy and curiosity. They’re constantly soaking up information and developing new skills.

This is a critical time to provide them with engaging activities that nurture their natural desire to learn and explore.

The Montessori approach offers a wealth of effective and stimulating activities that cater to a 3-year-old’s unique developmental needs.

These activities go beyond simple entertainment; they’ll help your child refine their motor skills, develop concentration, and gain a sense of independence.

Keeping your busy 3-year-old entertained and learning doesn’t require fancy toys or expensive outings. With a little creativity and everyday household items, you can create a world of wonder and exploration.

Here are 20 Montessori-inspired activities to spark your child’s development:

Activity 1: Sensory Bin

sensory bin activity
sensory bin activity

Age Group: 2-4 years old

Materials: Bin, dry beans/rice, cups, spoons, small toys (animals, figures)

How to Perform: Fill a bin with dry beans or rice. Add small toys and colorful objects for your child to scoop, pour, and explore. This simple activity refines fine motor skills and encourages imaginative play.

Area of Development: Sensory development, Fine motor skills

Activity 2: Shaking Surprise

shaking surprise activity
shaking surprise activity

Age Group: 2-3 years old

Materials: Small container (plastic bottle, canister), dry beans/pasta, objects that make noise (bells, buttons)

How to Perform: Fill a small container halfway with dry beans or pasta. Add a few small objects that make noise, like bells or buttons. Secure the lid tightly. Let your child shake the container and listen to the rattles and shakes. This activity strengthens auditory processing and hand-eye coordination.

Area of Development: Auditory processing, Hand-eye coordination

Activity 3: Color Matching

sorting game activity
sorting game activity

Age Group: 2-3 years old

Materials: Construction paper, markers, crayons (optional)

How to Perform: Cut out large construction paper shapes in different colors. On separate pieces of paper, draw or color matching shapes. Ask your child to match the colored shapes together. This activity introduces color recognition and matching skills.

Area of Development: Color recognition, Matching skills

Activity 4: Stacking Tower

build a tower activity
build a tower activity

Age Group: 2-3 years old

Materials: Blocks (wooden or plastic), cups

How to Perform: Building with blocks is a timeless activity that helps develop hand-eye coordination. Provide your child with blocks or cups and let them stack them as high as they can. This simple play encourages creativity and problem-solving skills.

Area of Development: Hand-eye coordination, Problem-solving skills

Activity 5: Chunky Threading

threading challenge activity
threading challenge activity

Age Group: 3-4 years old

Materials: Pipe cleaners (cut in half), beads (large and holey)

How to Perform: Threading activities are a great way to develop fine motor skills. Cut pipe cleaners in half and provide your child with large, holey beads. Encourage them to thread the beads onto the pipe cleaners. This helps with hand-eye coordination and builds focus.

Area of Development: Fine motor skills, Hand-eye coordination

Activity 6: Playdough Pals

playdough fun activity
playdough fun activity

Age Group: 3-5 years old

Materials: Playdough (homemade or store-bought)

How to Perform: Unleash your child’s inner sculptor with some playdough! Encourage them to roll, flatten, and mold the dough into shapes, animals, or anything their imagination conjures. Playdough is fantastic for developing those all-important fine motor skills.

Area of Development: Fine motor skills, Creativity

Activity 7: Washing Play

washing the dishes activity
washing the dishes activity

Age Group: 2-4 years old

Materials: Shallow bin/pan, water, sponges, toy dishes (optional)

How to Perform: Fill a shallow bin or pan with water and provide sponges and toy dishes (or plastic cups). Let your child have fun washing the dishes – they might even offer to “help” with real dishes later! This practical play introduces responsibility and strengthens fine motor skills.

Area of Development: Practical Life Skills, Fine motor skills

Activity 8: Shaving Cream Sensory Play

shaving cream sensory play activity
shaving cream sensory play activity

Age Group: 3-5 years old

Materials: Shaving cream, food coloring (optional), plastic tray

How to Perform: Cover a plastic tray with shaving cream and add a few drops of food coloring for a vibrant twist (adult supervision recommended). Let your child squish, scoop, and explore the cool, fluffy texture. This messy play is a great sensory experience and strengthens fine motor skills.

Area of Development: Sensory development, Fine motor skills

Activity 9: Pouring Play

pouring play activity
pouring play activity

Age Group: 3-5 years old

Materials: Water, cups, bowls, spoons, colanders (optional)

How to Perform: Fill a pitcher or bowl with water and set out various sized cups and bowls. Let your child experiment with pouring water from one container to another. Add spoons, colanders, or other interesting objects for extra fun. This activity strengthens hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

Area of Development: Hand-eye coordination, Fine motor skills

Age Group: 3-4 years old

Materials: Dried beans (large), bin, small toys (hidden inside)

How to Perform: Hide small toys in a bin filled with dried beans. Challenge your child to find the toys by digging and scooping through the beans. This activity refines fine motor skills and introduces problem-solving skills.

Area of Development: Fine motor skills, Problem-solving skills

Activity 11: Dress-Up Fun

dress-up drama activity
dress-up drama activity

Age Group: 3-5 years old

Materials: Old clothes, hats, scarves, jewelry (dress-up box items)

How to Perform: Dig out old clothes, hats, scarves, and any other dress-up essentials you have around the house. Let your child transform into their favorite character or create a whole new persona! Dress-up play sparks imagination and creativity while also boosting social and communication skills.

Area of Development: Imagination, Creativity, Social skills

Activity 12: Shape Sorting

shape sorting activity
shape sorting activity

Age Group: 3-4 years old

Materials: Cardboard box, cereal boxes, markers, scissors

How to Perform: Cut out various shapes (circles, squares, triangles) from leftover cereal boxes. Decorate a cardboard box with a designated slot for each shape. Give your child the cutout shapes and watch them sort them into the correct slots. This activity strengthens shape recognition and hand-eye coordination.

Area of Development: Cognitive development, Fine motor skills

Activity 13: Book Basket

book basket activity
book basket activity

Age Group: 2-4 years old

Materials: Basket, favorite children’s books

How to Perform: Create a cozy reading nook with a basket filled with your child’s favorite books. Let them explore the books at their own pace, turning the pages and looking at the pictures. Snuggle up together for story time, pointing out words and pictures as you read. This activity fosters a love for books and language development.

Area of Development: Language development, Literacy skills

Activity 14: Nature Walk Scavenger Hunt

Age Group: 3-4 years old

Materials: Paper bag, crayons (optional)

How to Perform: Head outdoors for a nature walk scavenger hunt! Create a simple list for your child to find things like leaves, pinecones, or different colored flowers. This activity gets them moving and introduces them to the wonders of nature. Let them collect their finds in a paper bag for a mini nature treasure chest!

Area of Development: Gross motor skills, Science exploration

Activity 15: Matching Game

matching game activity
matching game activity

Age Group: 3-4 years old

Materials: Construction paper, markers, stickers (optional)

How to Perform: Create a simple matching game using construction paper. Draw or stick matching pairs of pictures (animals, shapes, etc.) on separate pieces of paper. Lay them all face down and challenge your child to find the matching pairs. This classic game strengthens memory and concentration skills.

Area of Development: Memory skills, Concentration

Activity 16: DIY Stamp Art

diy stamp art activity
diy stamp art activity

Age Group: 3-5 years old

Materials: Potatoes, paint, paper plates

How to Perform: Get creative with homemade stamps! Cut potatoes in half and carve simple shapes or designs. Pour some paint onto a paper plate and let your child use the potato stamps to create their own artwork. This activity encourages creativity and fine motor control.

Area of Development: Creativity, Fine motor skills

Activity 17: Ball Games

two 3 years old children playing with a soccer ball in the grass

Age Group: 2-4 years old

Materials: Ball (beach ball, balloon)

How to Perform: Games with balls are a simple way to get your child moving and develop gross motor skills. Inflate a beach ball or balloon and toss it back and forth with your child. You can also try rolling the ball or kicking it gently across the room. These activities encourage coordination and gross motor development.

Area of Development: Gross motor skills, Coordination

Activity 18: Chunky Puzzle Play

puzzle play activity
puzzle play activity

Age Group: 2-4 years old Materials: Puzzles (large wooden knobs)

How to Perform: Puzzles are a great way to challenge your child’s problem-solving skills. Choose puzzles with large, chunky pieces that are easy for little hands to grasp. Let them explore the pieces and help them put the puzzle together. This activity strengthens problem-solving skills and spatial reasoning.

Area of Development: Problem-solving skills, Spatial reasoning

Activity 19: Singing and Dancing

dancing freeze activity
dancing freeze activity

Age Group: 2-4 years old Materials: Music player (optional)

How to Perform: Put on some music (or sing along!) and have a dance party with your child. Move your bodies together, clap your hands, and twirl around. Singing and dancing are fun ways to bond with your child and develop their sense of rhythm.

Area of Development: Social bonding, Music appreciation

Activity 20: Building Blocks

building blocks activity
building blocks activity

Age Group: 2-5 years old

Materials: Blocks (wooden or plastic)

How to Perform: Building with blocks is a timeless activity that sparks imagination and spatial reasoning. Provide your child with blocks and let them freely build towers, houses, or anything their mind imagines. This open-ended play encourages creativity and problem-solving skills.

Area of Development: Creativity, Spatial reasoning, Problem-solving skills

3 year old activities image use for pinterest

Conclusion: Cultivating a Love of Learning

By incorporating these Montessori-inspired activities into your child’s routine, you’ll be laying the foundation for a lifelong love of learning. You’ll witness their confidence blossom as they master new skills and experience the joy of independent exploration.

Most importantly, you’ll be nurturing their natural curiosity, which is the key to a bright and inquisitive mind.

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25 Easy & Fun Montessori Activity Ideas for Your Child

Boost your child's growth and development with these 25 fun and educational Montessori activities. Don't miss out on this FREE printable guide!